Garage Sale Etiquette

This morning, my sister-in-law and I hit the pavement.  Two local towns were holding their city-wide sales and we’re always in the market for a good bargain.  Hot chocolate in hand, wrapped in fleece, we jumped in my van to see what we could find.  We found quite a few good bargains, but I noticed that we spent a good deal of time griping about some of the sellers.  For that reason, here is a list of (should be) rules for hosting or attending a garage sale.

When attending:

  1. Don’t make a total mess of the clothes.  I get annoyed when I see someone just throwing clothes back down after checking the size.  Seriously, you don’t have to fold it well, but if it was folded when you picked it up, fold it!
  2. If you don’t like the price but you love the item, ask if they’re willing to negotiate.  A helpful hint, this works best on Saturday later in the morning or early afternoon.  No one wants to pack up all that junk!

When hosting:

  1. Let me know you’re having a sale!  You can put a sign in the yard, balloons on the mailbox, or make sure some items are clearly set up for a garage sale on the driveway.  I can’t tell you how many “hidden” garage sales we saw today.
  2. If you want people to leave the main roads to your back road, put a bright sign pointing them in your direction.  Not everyone has a map of the city-wide sale participants, and not everyone holding a sale paid to be put on the map.  If you don’t let people know you’re selling your stuff, don’t complain that you didn’t sell anything!
  3. DON’T have a garage sale in your garage that is on the backside of a townhouse complex.  No one will see you and you won’t have success.  If you must hold it here, see rules 1 and 2.
  4. Mark your items!  I don’t want to guess what you might want for everything.  Part of the time spent having a garage sale is to price items.
  5. When marking your items, remember that this is crap you no longer want.  Yes, you want to make some money, but don’t expect someone to pay $5 for something you bought from Walmart for $10.  In the world of garage sales, people are looking for something cheap, and to be honest, half price isn’t cheap when browsing garage sales.
  6. Be willing to negotiate on price.  True, you don’t have to, but again, this is crap you don’t want.  If you don’t want it and you see someone who is seriously thinking about it, many times coming down a tiny bit will make the potential buyer think they’re getting a great deal.
  7. Don’t come out of the house and tell me all you have is “boy stuff” when I’m looking at the housewares you have.  We’re pretty wise to the world of kids’ clothes.  All blue clothes usually means boy.
  8. Pay attention.  We had one sale today where we had to wait for the woman to get done reading a chapter in her book before taking our money.  Not that I would have, but I wonder if she’d have noticed if we left without paying!
  9. Have your crap somewhat organized.  I don’t want to be stepping over piles of stuff for sale because you have it all over the place.
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